This weekend, Redeeming Grace Church heard a wonderful message from Hebrews 4:14-16.
I was so encouraged in my soul, listening to the qualifications of Jesus as our Great High Priest.
Dave Odom shared a very helpful illustration about passing through customs as he has traveled on international flights. For all of us who have traveled internationally, we know that the only thing that grants us access through customs into another country is our passport.
It is our passport that grants us the credentials by which we can come through customs into another country.
The amazing reality for every believer is that the credentials of Jesus allow us to pass through into the presence of God. If you come on the qualifications of Jesus and Jesus alone, God invites you into His presence.
Jesus is qualified as our Great High Priest, and we are welcome into the presence of God, through him.
I never tire of hearing this.
As Dave preached, I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes from JC Ryle, 19th century Anglican pastor, who has become a favorite author of mine:
“There is a way by which any man, however sinful and unworthy, may draw near to God the Father. Jesus Christ has opened that way by the sacrifice he made for us upon the cross. The holiness and justice of God need not frighten sinners and keep them back. Only let them cry to God in the name of Jesus, only let them plead the atoning blood of Jesus, and they shall find God upon a throne of grace, willing and ready to hear. The name of Jesus is a never-failing passport for our prayers. In that name a man may draw near to God with boldness, and ask with confidence. God has engaged to hear him. Think of this. Is not this encouragement?” JC Ryle, A Call to Prayer
A never-failing passport for our prayers. That’s who Jesus is, for us. He has opened the way to the throne of grace, and we can come to God to receive mercy and grace, through him.
Oh, Yes, this is encouragement!